As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…

… I fear an empty and eternally insignificant life.

The past month has been filled with death and it’s been a tough one. From the loss of my dear father-in-law, to my Uncle John, 2 co-workers and a close friend of one of my work buddies, this has been the most and closest dealings with death that I have ever had. I am ready for it to be over. The wounds are deep. This valley has really made me think. I mean really think. It’s been quite a reality check.┬áIt has been influencial physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Physically it has started the process of increased life insurance and beginning considerations of wills. Preparations for my family is not my favorite thing to research. If you saw my google search history you’d think I was morbid and depressed. I have been using fewer words in my spoken sentences. My eyes feel heavier than before. My running pace, heck; every day movement has been hindered as it’s all hard with shortness of breath and a heavy heart.

Mentally it has been difficult to care about a lot of the petty and mundane crap that is such an emphasis for the masses. Thankful for my employment at my job, but not how I want to be known. Grateful for my stuff, but not how I want to be defined. My perspective on “important” things of life has been taken to a new, and an uncharted depth for me. I often struggle with self worth and esteem. “Who are you?” and “What good are you?” are phrases that the enemy regularly and successfully darkens my days with. This past month has been no different, the shadows are darker than I have known.

Spiritually these hits have been supressing. Many people question God. Many just get mad and fall further away. This has not been the case for me. I don’t question because I know the answers. I don’t get mad because really, why should I be? I just get more anxious. I have however struggled with in communicating with my LORD. God is sovereign which is a big church word for awesome, extravagant, mighty, bigger and wiser than the lump sum of all of humanities claimed knowledge. Traci and I have had a multi-month long conversation threaded by the concept of intentional and significant eternal purpose. In light of the recent events has become more intense. Obviously we were created for a purpose, but how crazy is it that our real and only purpose has always been to have a connection with the one who created us? I feel as though I have really missed this. It’s been mostly head knowledge backed with a baby-girl-strength amount of action. Starving and weak my spiritual muscles are hungry and unsatisfied. Anorexia cause by fear or complacency?

I have begun to read a book that was a favorite of Kip’s titled WILD at HEART. I heard him speak of this often and refer to it on a camping trip that he, Jeff, Kelly and myself took a handful of yeas ago in New Mexico. A trip that was previously and now forever will be treasured. This book [this one actually belonged to him and is highlighted by him… typical Kip if you really knew him] is directed to believing men and to inspire us to “get it together” in our pursuit of knowing God, leading our family, and actually fulfilling our purpose. The author references guy movies throughout and one quote has really echoed in my mind the past few days. Really, this is it. So inspirational on so many levels. Please think about the depth of it and how it applies to you personally.

“All men die; few ever live.” – Braveheart.

The maturing of my grief and ripening motivation will inevitably produce fruit. The credits are rolling of an epic movie, I drown in sorrow but now absorb the lessons, attributes and actions of my fallen hero; trying to somehow find the strength and pick up the challenge in my own adventure, the sequel. My mission: Live to glorify the King. Really, what else matters?

3 Replies to “As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”

  1. Don’t know really how to “comment” on this except you are a wonderfun man Ryan, a great father, an even greater husband to my precious niece and I know that my brother is beaming down saying, “I think I have made a difference”…I love you and your family and am so proud of how you have all handled this most tragic period of our lives.

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